Since Flag Day 2010 was my 40TH birthday, we decide to have a birthWEEK celebration instead of a birthDAY celebration. We also needed to vacate our house since there was no power or heat and the weather was cold, so we checked into the Marriott Summit Watch vacation club at the bottom of Main Street in Park City on Friday, amid fresh snow on the mountaintops. Saturday, we were suppose to do the Deer Valley race, but it got canceled, as you already know from our last post. We intended to celebrate the big 4-0 a day early on Sunday with a group mountain bike ride followed by beer and cake at Wasatch Brew Pub in Park City, but due to the 80% chance of rain in the forecast and dark skies, we called off the ride. Drew and I did manage to sneak out early that day and get our first taste of the Mid Mountain trail this year.
After warming our toes in the hot tub back at the resort and opening a few presents in the room we gathered with lots of our very best friends at the brew pub for beer and an insanely delicious chocolate cake from Carlucci's Bakery that Drew had designed especially for his "over the hill" wife.
I guess when you are 40, you deserve two cakes.
But you still have to blow out the candles.
It was a great night and I felt lucky to be able to celebrate with such awesome friends: Doug, John, Jen, Melissa, Scott, Jennie, Joel, Alison, Eric, Erika, Dusty, Rhonda, Andy, Bob, Lyna, Laura, Mike, April, Nancy, Ken, Angela, Ty, Gigi, Kathy, Chris, Bonnie, Jonas, Mark, Kari, Cindy, Craig, Shelly, and of course, my wonderful Drew.
We had to get to bed early though because the actual birth-day held a surprise for me. I was instructed to dress warmly and rise at 5:30 AM. We hunted down some coffee as the sun came up on Park City...
And then I was transported to the launching pad. We were going hot air ballooning!
Part of the excitement was determining where to launch from and watching the flight crew unload and inflate the balloon.
It took about 15 minutes before we and the other 8 passengers could load into the basket, and in no time we were airborne. It was thrilling.
The pilot would turn on the burners to heat the air to make us gain altitude.
We first floated at about 3000 feet above the ground over Swaner Nature Preserve, but then we descended to only 100 feet or so above the Preserve to see if we could view any wildlife. This is the closest we will likely ever get to being able to enter the Preserve.
What I liked best about the ride was floating over many of our favorite mountain bike trails. Here is Glen Wild.
And the trails and another commercial balloon near Round Valley (it really looks round, eh?)
We tried to pose for this picture
But got this video instead
In this video you can see what it was like floating above the trails. The 60,000 BTU propane burners were pretty cool too.
The sprawl is very apparent from the air.
After about an hour, it was time to "aim" for the landing spot. The winds were very calm until just above the ground, where they picked up and caused the basket to tip over on its side during our landing. That was exciting!
So exciting that we needed to take a nap after the balloon ride to get some energy before I could open more presents.
I got so many cool presents from my family and friends, I can't list them here, but I just had to show off my present from Drew. This is the only thing I specifically asked for. Ain't she a beaut!
We also had energy left over to go on a mountain bike ride to our engagement spot. Nothing better than celebrating my birthday with my most awesome friend and husband.
The rest of birthweek was nice too. I came down to work a couple of days and check on the house. Drew also spent some time at the house but managed to ride a lot. I raced on Wednesday, earning myself a blue ribbon birthday prize, and Thursday we had birthday dinner and dessert at Easy Street in Park City.